EDITORIAL: Competence Issue Looms Large for Natalie Tennant in U.S. Senate Race

HNN Staff
Natalie Tennant
Natalie Tennant

Natalie Tennant has had her fifteen minutes of fame this week by obliging the State Democratic Party, who was desperate to have a known opponent to jump into the 2014 U.S. Senate contest. 

But Tennant's campaign got off to a rocky start, with national media noting that an opening video put out by the Tennant campaign used video footage from Pitt's campus instead of WVU, Tennant's alma mater, or at least another West Virginia college or university.

What does this matter in real terms?  Only that it reminds people of the competence issue, which will haunt Tennant all next year.

National and state media, along with the State Republican Party, is unlikely to let the public forget about Tennant's Secretary of State's Office having to reprint ballots at a significant cost during her watch.   

In order for Tennant to have a chance at erasing the competence rap, she will need to run a nearly flawless U.S. Senate campaign.  This is the consequence of her troubles in office.  If her campaign's wheels start to fall off, her critics will be able to suggest that a pattern of incompetence is becoming clear.

That's why a little video snafu using Pitt campus footage looks bad right out of the starting gate for Tennant.  Not only does it distract from whatever positive message her opening video was trying to convey, it looks like an amateur effort--just like her office's woes on having to redo those ballots at significant cost to the taxpayer.

Plus, there's something ironic about a former WVU Mountaineer Mascot using archrival Pitt's campus footage in her opening video.

Tennant is on thin ice on the competence issue.  If Tennant or her campaign have many more goofs in these opening rounds, this race may be over before it begins.

But there's a positive side to that ending:  for being a dutiful Democrat, filling a spot on the state ballot, perhaps her friend, Barack Obama, can give her a federal appointment. 

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